China pouts over Dalai Lama tour


China is not amused by the Tibetan spiritual leader's latest trip.


Roni Rekomaa

China isn't pleased that Tibet's spiritual leader is making the rounds in Latin America.

After the Dalai Lama met with Mexican President Felipe Calderon last week, China said the meeting damaged relations between the countries. It even "hurt the feelings of the Chinese people."

Read more: Dalai Lama says Mexico isn't that violent

Then, the Nobel laureate was scheduled to be named a "Distinguished Guest of the Nation" during his visit to Argentina. But China stepped in and asked the Argentine government to withhold the honor, according to the Argentine newspaper La Nacion.

Besides a tongue lashing, the Latin American countries potentially have a lot to lose by welcoming His Holiness. 

One study found that countries whose top leadership meet with the Dalai Lama lose on average 8.1 percent in exports to China in the two years following the meeting.

China has become a huge investor in Latin America in recent years, with Chinese direct investment in Latin America last year totaling $15 billion. That's more than double the amount invested between 1990 and 2009.

China is now the region's third-largest trading partner, behind the United States and the European Union, and will soon overtake the latter.

The Dalai's Lama next stop is Brazil.

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